Entry #2005
2:38 PM - January 27th, 2020
I, was accused, of rape.
I have never had non-consensual sexual contact with anyone. I won't even go to a restaurant with a woman she doesn't like. As the son of a single-mother my entire worldview was shaped through her experience and not to be too graphic (though it's going to be later), the woman is always the focus of any sexual encounter I've ever had. I come last literally and figuratively. Just how my head (both) works. I say that publicly with the full knowledge that several of the people I'm connected to on Facebook could dog me, right now, if I were lying.
I was in highschool when a massive football player came up to me after school screaming that I had forced his girlfriend (before they were together) to go down on me. I denied this and behind me a crowd started to form. I said "she wanted to" and he promptly picked me up and THREW ME. I look up and see her there amongst the crowd. So I take off my backpack, march up to her and say "You looked me in the eye, said 'will you think I'm a slut if I blow you?', I said 'no', and then you did." She starts crying, covers her face, turns away and her boyfriend grabs me AGAIN and hurls my ass across the grass. I again tell him directly to his face that I never forced anything and he goes after her. I get in my friend's car (he's driving me home), when I see the football player storm the car, open the passenger side and start repeatedly punching me in the side of the head. I get the door closed, we leave.
Everything calms down, but my reputation is gone. No one doesn't know about this incident and only the fact that I was presently dating my future wife and no one else was I able to shield myself from that stigma as I spent all of my time with her. The last day of school comes and I see the football player in an empty hallway walking away from me and I yell out his name. He had since broken up with her. He turns and comes towards me. I don't back down and once again, now nearly 8 months later, tell him: "You know I never forced her, right?"
"Yeah I knew. But she was my girlfriend and I had to defend her. Sorry, man."
Years pass. Facebook comes along. It's now about 15 years since the incident and we're all adding our high school friends and the girl pops up and we connect. Nothing is said. We end up meeting up with other old friends from high school when I'm in Chicago and before that meet-up she contacts me and wants to take me to lunch. She's married with children and I was certain this was the moment she was going to apologize. The lunch ends, she never brings it up and I'm stunned. At the meeting a few days later with the other friends we all focus on other present dramas and that's that. We are still Facebook friends today, we have still never talked about it. We will randomly like many of each other's posts and I just presume she's embarassed and thinks all is forgotten. 25 years later all is not forgotten (as you can tell). But let me throw in this defense for her:
Though I was not Catholic I went to a Catholic school. The "Patriarchy" of America is real and in that religion? Oh it might as well be their mission statement. The guilt put on young women for their own sexuality is so oppressive that, ironically, they end up acting out even more. What they also do? Is end up having to deflect responsibility for their sexual behavior any way they can for fear of being seen as a slut. "I didn't want to", "I was forced", "I was drunk"... after-the-fact story changes so they can remaing "pure" in the eyes of the church is common. Is that a defense of what she did? No, it's an explanation of what she did. In almost every situation, I do believe women who accuse men of sexual assault... however I am aware that sometimes the same patriarchy that allows men to get away with sexual assault keeps women guilt-ridden for being consensually sexual. Slut-shaming has some pretty awful ripples and this time it bit me, a man, in the ass. More like the face a bunch. Although I'm still a little bummed she hasn't apologized, I harbor zero ill-will towards her. Not everyone has the strength to stand up to shameful things in their past especially not when they're still entrenched in the religious source of that shame.
I'm of course bringing this up because of Kobe. Several people I care about are freely calling him a rapist because of an unproven accusation and I really don't want to get into arguments with them. We do not know the whole story other than what they both have agreed happened: she came to his hotel room, he kissed her, she kissed him back (her words) they then had sex. He thought it was consensual, she said it wasn't. Because she settled we will never know. And acting like you really know, either way, is the definition of confirmation bias. I followed that case closely. I watched reports from her friends saying she bragged about the encounter 3 days before charges were filed. They could've been lying, no one was under oath, we never got a trial. What we also have is the rest of Kobe's life and the fact that he spent 25 years in the public eye and no one else ever accused him of anything even remotely in this realm. Not once. Not a grab, not a grope. The literal opposite his entire life. I don't know of many sexual assaulters that are "one-offs". A celebrity with that much money, that much power? Their arrogance always shows who they are. Kobe was alive during the #metoo movement. Nothing. I don't mean that he wasn't accused of rape again, I mean he never had any woman say anything negative, in fact the opposite from every woman who ever worked with or was around him. That's hard to ignore.
So when do we give someone the benefit of the doubt? Why do you believe my story, but not his? Or, why do you NOT believe me? How do we have these conversations with respect? The people calling him a rapist right now? I care about these people and I do understand the emotion they have about this subject... but I disagree here. It doesn't make me a rape apologist. I'm not a thoughtless fan-boy of some guy because he played basketball. Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby were absolute heroes to me and those motherfuckers were and are guilty. If I believed it was in Kobe's nature, I would say it. I don't. I am not white-washing his past, he did indeed cheat on his wife and it does put him in a different category in my head, but I'm devastated by his passing. His relationship with the daughter who also died rocks me to my core. His life after basketball promoting women's basketball and watching him become a storyteller was so inspiring to me. Meeting him and sharing a moment with him and making him laugh will never leave me.
And now, I have shared this story. I wish more men would come forward and express how they have been abused or wrongly accused. We are obviously a fraction of the very real assaults but we do exist. It does stay with you and you never forget.
And since this is a video blog what in the holy balls is this entry's video going to be? Lemme look at my old archives for something from that time...
...oh this more than works. This is why everything I just described above had literally NO effect on my well being. I had a best friend in Jeff Duhigg (who, coincidentally is the person that drove me home after the fight) and my future wife, Burgundie. Is it really possible this is over a quarter-century ago?
Love to both of you. Miss you guys.